Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Crochet Lace for Dresses

I love crochet lace, and have many, many pattern books devoted to the subject. Crochet lace can make the loveliest little fairy dress, and so I decided to put together a tutorial to show you how to go from a simple length of crochet lace to a fairy dress :-)
Choose a pattern that would make a sweet dress, like the one above. Seven inches is about one-and-a-half times the waist measurement of the little Pocket Spirits.
Figure out how many stitches it takes to go around the waist, or where you want the dress to fit. These little dresses are short waisted, but you could make a dress with the skirt at the natural waist, or a dropped waist dress. Anyway, crochet a chain that will fit around the waist, not too tight or loose. For these dresses, made of size 8 perle cotton and a size 8 steel hook, 40 stitches was about right. Note: The chain is only used to give you an idea of how many sc stitches you need to work across the top of the lace to fit it to the doll.

Work 40 sc evenly along the top of the lace. If you end up with a few more stitches, or it seems too loose, work another row of sc and decrease a few stitches to get a nice fit.
The next row will be the armhole dividing row, and once you've got the armholes made, try the fit on your doll and see how you both like it :-)
At this point, you can embellish the dress as you like, long or short sleeves, picot edgings around the neckline, whatever!

A picture tutorial with more pictures and directions is available here:

http://www.flickr.com/photos/29184580@N04/sets/72157624472023381/

Enjoy the crochet!

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Fairy Wings!

A new pattern to celebrate one year (and counting) for this blog! It has been a lot of fun to share these patterns with you, and chat with so many of you about dollmaking and crochet.

The Pocket Spirits needed some wings, and I don't really like to stiffen crochet cotton, so I thought I would crochet them from wire. I used this technique a couple years ago to make some wings, but never wrote down the pattern...I just sort of winged it :-)

These wings are made from 30 gauge Artistic Wire, available at http://www.artisticwire.com/
Crocheting with wire takes a little getting used to, since it is rather stiff, and your crochet piece does not have much stretch. But it will also keep it shape and makes such a neat, lacy fabric. Perfect for fairy wings.

I incorporated beads into the crochet. Beads are easy to string on wire, but also may require a little practice to get used to crocheting. This is a simple pattern of single crochet and chain stitches. The pattern for the wings is here:

http://sites.google.com/site/designbybethann/home/links/PocketSpiritFairyWings.pdf?attredirects=0&d=1

You can also find it along the left hand sidebar under Pocket Spirits

The wings are simply pinned on the girls here. When they finally get their outfits, I will permanently attach the wings to the Spirit.

Still, they look pretty cute in their birthday suits :-)

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Pocket Spirits!

Hard to believe, but this blog will be one year old in ten days! I started with crochet, and am delighted to be returning to it, with a new 'twist' on the little Mini Free Spirit. This is a new pattern, and she has a movable head! Either a 12mm animal eye, or two two-hole buttons are used to make her little head fully movable. With pipe cleaners in her arms and legs, she is very posable :-)

These little dolls are crocheted with light worsted weight (or heavy sportweight) yarn, designated '3.' I used Patons Astra, which was delightful to crochet with and comes in a luscious variety of skin tones. The hair is Nashua Kid Mohair, and makes beautiful hair.

The pattern for the doll is here: http://sites.google.com/site/designbybethann/home/links/PocketSpiritDoll.pdf?attredirects=0&d=1

And a photo tutorial for making the doll is here: http://www.flickr.com/photos/29184580@N04/sets/72157624341290075/

Clothing for this little doll can be made from the Mini Free Spirit patterns, using size 20 crochet cotton and a size 8 hook.

I was greatly inspired by the tiny BJD's to make this doll. I love the posability of the BJD's, but I also truly love making dolls.

Enjoy the crochet!

Friday, July 2, 2010

All the girls

This is Jenny and me; she is the last of five Prairie Flower dolls that I started working on back at the end of May. They are all complete, and everyone has something to wear; not all of my dolls are so lucky :-) I also have three more patterns to share, and altogether these patterns should provide a nice trousseau for your Prairie Flower.
First is Jenny's puffed sleeve A-line dress. I modified the simple A-line dress from thebleudoor with a technique from the book "Dressing Dolls," by Rosemarie Ionker. This is a terrific book for anyone who loves to make doll clothing, or enjoys drooling over well made doll clothing. The pattern for the dress is here:

http://sites.google.com/site/designbybethann/home/links/PFPuffSleeveDress.pdf?attredirects=0&d=1

This is really cute in a '30's style print. Here is a tip to get the collar to lay nice and flat along the dolls neckline; after you've completed the outfit, place it on the doll and dampen the collar lightly. Pin the front and back points of the collar to the dress, with a straight pin right into the doll, just like you would like the collar to lay. Let this dry, and the collar stays nicely in place after the pins are removed.
Next is a dress with gathered sleeves and the skirt gathered to the bodice. The bodice is done the same way as the puffed sleeve dress above. This is a really clever way of making a gathered sleeve without the tediousness of setting the sleeve in the armhole.

http://sites.google.com/site/designbybethann/home/links/PFGatheredSleeveBodice.pdf?attredirects=0&d=1

The bodice can be lengthened for a drop waist dress, or for a blouse, and you can play around with the fullness of the sleeve cap to alter the look.
Last is my favorite, a super simple vest that can be left plain or embellished to your hearts content.

http://sites.google.com/site/designbybethann/home/links/PFSimpleVest.pdf?attredirects=0&d=1

Only two seams, the side seams, and you're done. You can make this vest out of felt or fleece.
Here are all the girls, wishing you a lovely day filled with creativity :-)